Talks between EMI and a number of download providers seeking upfront payments for DRM free catalog offerings have ended according to Bloomberg News. Discussions included Microsoft, Apple, RealNetworks, Yahoo!and Amazon with some deal virtually complete as little as just two weeks ago.
In addition to a reluctance to make large advance payments a major stumbling block is the potential sale of EMI to WMG or other investors. Last week's court rulings involving the licensing of the mp3 technology would also only serve to dampen an further discussions. "It's a setback,'' Harold Vogel, an independent media analyst in New York, said in an interview. "That this industry fights every change tooth-and-nail is not helping reverse the tide."
New Buyers Emerge -
US buyout firm Fortress, which raised $635M earlier this month, is said to be reviewing EMI's numbers in anticipation of an approach Apollo, One Equity (a private-equity firm linked to JP Morgan) and Permira (which was close to buying EMI late last year) are also reviewing their options as is the Warner Music Group.